Here’s the situation: last night the San Francisco Giants, trailing 6-1 to the Washington Nationals begin to mount a daring and valiant late-inning comeback, scoring three runs in the top of the 8th and one more in the 9th. Hunter “How Is This Guy A Baseball Player?” Pence is at the dish with runners on first and second, two outs.
Little did the Giants know that a hefty dose of Natitude was lurking nearby.
Nationals closer Rafael Soriano unleashes a hanging curveball ripe for the picking and Pence mashes it deep into left-center field. If it falls, the Giants go ahead 7-6. Center fielder Denard Span jumps on his horse and gallops towards the rawhide sphere hurtling towards Earth. Sweat begins to drip down our foreheads, mothers cover their children’s eyes, an elderly fan’s pacemaker skips a beat.
Gasp! He caught it! The catch preserves the Nationals 6-5 victory, sending Washington home happy while the Giants experience yet another bout of soul-crushing déjà vu in two months.
Yep, that’s right. Three times this summer the Giants have lost a game due to a spectacular game-saving catch.
1. June 17, AT&T Park, bottom of the 12th, runner on second base, two outs: Will Venable, San Diego Padres
As Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly describes it:
Padres center fielder Will Venable, his back almost totally turned to the infield, makes a full-extension catch on Juan Perez. Brandon Belt could’ve skipped home with a walk-off win. Instead the Giants lost in the 13th.
Though a tough loss, at 35-34, the Giants were a mere 1.5 games back of the first place Diamondbacks.
2. June 25, Dodger Stadium, top of the 9th, runners on first and second, two outs: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
Take it away, Andrew Baggarly:
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp sprints straight back, makes a leaping catch at the wall and comes down with Marco Scutaro’s deep drive, punching the wall for emphasis. The Dodgers won 6-5.
Giants, 38-39 and now 3.5 games back of the Diamondbacks are still by no means out of it. They can still bounce back, right?
Nope. A 14-28 stretch since Kemp’s catch has seen the world champions fall 17.5 games behind the first place Dodgers and into the cellar of the NL West. Baseball can be a generous lover or a cruel mistress, the latter of which has compounded upon the Giants’ miserable 2013 season. Better luck next year, boys.